The ‘average Indian woman’ has always been a finance whizkid, unknowingly though but she has.
Remember the ease with which our Ma and Grandma always took care of the Household Kharcha, still saved up for Kitty Parties and happily played the roles of Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny throughout the years?
It is funny to note but women have always had a very intimate relationship with money. Besides always being on the hunt for a good bargain, women understand the importance of budgeting, investing, saving money, perhaps more than anyone else in the family. You could say women are more practical about their money than men could ever be!
And a lot of it again goes back to their maternal instincts. Most of this stems from their desire to provide for their family and kids and the pride they experience when they are able to make most of what they have and never go back to ask for more.
But women are no more just Ma’s and Grandma’s. They are Managers, Vice Presidents, Directors, Founders, Investors, Growth Hackers and so much more now. Even those who were homemakers previously have risen to the occasion and started working from home or founding companies out of their kitchen platforms.
So how can their financial knowledge lag behind?
Women now need to learn tools beyond budgeting and making ends meet. They need to set financial goals and understand the importance of risk and diversification NOW more than ever. They need to learn how to employ their money to secure their future as well as the future of their children.
It may seem daunting and jargon-filled to begin with. But for those women who actually have understood the game, this space feels like second skin now. They feel it is something that comes naturally to them.
We have always maintained that regardless of gender, finance is not a grey, bleak snooze fest. It is easy, doable, profitable and even fun.
Don’t believe us?
Let’s get you started with some simple things you can do as women to get your money act together:
1. Make money your personal employee — Start an SIP!
A Systematic Investment Plan is what we suggest. Most of us aim to save a % of our salary and want to watch it grow. We keep it in our savings account and watch it accumulate at 4.5% p.a. A slow deathly growth. We must deploy some of this money towards an SIP investing in the Equity Markets. This calculated risk will give us a chance at earning a 12–15% p.a. giving us a fighting chance for a successful retirement *cough* corpus.
Our choice of SIP investment will be governed by our ultimate goal — travel, kids’ education or marriage, buying a house or a car and finally retirement!
2. Gold is not just a shiny new thing to wear — Invest in Gold!
We have grown up seeing our grandmothers and mothers buying Gold on occasions such as Dhanteras. Physical gold is the most common way to buy Gold in India but we need to keep in mind the quality and security risk. What if there was a way to buy gold without having to worry about making charges or its safekeeping or purity assurance? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? And it is!
Today you can buy Gold in the Non-Physical Form in the following ways: Gold Funds, Gold ETFs, Digital Gold, Gold Derivatives, Shares of companies mining gold and our personal favourite — Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB’s).
SGB’s give you all the benefits of Non-Physical Gold but also pay you 2.5%p.a. as interest on your gold investment. They also are tax-free on maturity! What more could a girl ask for?
3. Secure your daughters — Invest in the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana
For your daughters, the government has started this amazing scheme where you can contribute up to Rs. 150,000/- per annum from when your daughter’s born up to when she turns 15 years of age. This money will compound (at 7.6% currently) for the next couple years and eventually when she turns 21, she will get access to this giant pot of funds that can be used for education, travel, marriage or even capital for her to start a business.
There is a special provision where from 18 years of age she can withdraw money for her education and marriage. All this with a tax benefit for you under Section 80C.
4. Kill The retail therapy bug — The 24-hour delay formula
Spending large amounts of time on Pinterest and Amazon, and with few places to go because of these pandemic times, we end up shopping more than we need to. Driven by FOMO, jealousy and just plain boredom, we end up buying things we don’t really have use for or want in the long term. When we shop, our body releases a happy hormone called Dopamine which makes us feel good, that’s why shopping aka retailing is known to be therapeutic but this effect only lasts in the short term.
In the long term, this form of gratification can be especially hard on our wallets. One simple way to combat this spontaneous shopping reflex is to literally SLEEP ON IT i.e., a 24-hour delay to every buying decision!
By then the initial urge has passed and more often than not we may not end up purchasing what we set out to!
5. Make your credit card earn for you — Use reward points, cashbacks, schemes well
Shopping websites reward users who are holders of certain credit cards in the form of points, discounts and cashbacks. Instead of using net banking to complete our online transactions we must strategically opt for a card (debit or credit) that can maximize these bargains and help us save money one discount coupon at a time! Of course, those opting for a rewards-based credit card must ensure that they pay their bills on time to avoid any charges or penalties.
Don’t worry if you don’t get the hang of it the very first time you try. Smart Money habits are a marathon not a sprint. We have been brought up with the mindset that Cash is King and changing that will take time.
If we hide Rs 100 under our pillows every day till all of eternity, sure, we will have ‘alot of money’ after say 10 years. But what we don’t realize is that this money is losing its value over time (aka inflation). If we simply put that amount in an SIP or even a recurring Fixed Deposit, we will have much much more than ‘alot of money’ and maybe, just maybe, prevent it from succumbing to inflation. The secret of getting ahead and always having funds is starting your investing journey.
Trust us, starting is the hardest part.
Minakshi Todi, Founder of The Finance Box and Vidyabroad is the heart and mind behind this mission movement of Financial Wisdom for the everyday user.
Armed with an MSc. Finance from Cass Business School London, she quit an illustrious career in Investment Banking and took up Financial teaching as her life’s purpose.
She believes that in order to go smoothly through life, one must understand why money matters and the need to manage it in the simplest terms possible.
Her ‘students’ are aged 10 to 70 years and she is often quoted in noted business dailies for her thoughts on personal finance.
You too can participate and learn from her short one-to-one online courses. Of course, privileged access and special offers apply to Dais Readers. Click here to begin your journey.
Feel free to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more or tell us more and we would be delighted to experience the connect.